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Common Ground


Welcome to a Year of Celebration Marking UTIA's 50th Anniversary

A new era for agriculture at the University of Tennessee began in 1968. At the urging of Edward Boling, then-vice president for Development and Administration for the UT System, the Board of Trustees approved the formation of the Institute of Agriculture, uniting Extension, Research, and the College into one entity. Boling believed the inherent statewide mission of the newly formed Institute warranted it being a separate and distinct unit of the UT System. Dr. Webster Pendergrass was named vice chancellor and with the addition of the College of Veterinary Medicine in 1974, the Institute as we know it today was in place. Throughout this year we will proudly celebrate fifty years of creating Real.Life.Solutions. for the citizens of Tennessee and well beyond. In each issue of Common Ground, we will mark a significant milestone in the history of UTIA, and you can expect other observances ahead.

Pictured above is Andy Holt, UT System president at the time, addressing the trustees.

Please share your stories with us about the fiftieth by emailing them to Beth Hall (bhall20@tennessee.edu). Special and significant moments in the life of the Institute since it began in 1968 may be published in an upcoming magazine.

UTIA's Top Ten in 2017

Our faculty, staff, and students caught plenty of national acclaim last year. Media covering our achievements and contributions included U.S. News & World Report, National Public Radio, Science Daily, an HBO documentary, USA Today, the Washington Post, Progressive Farmer, and more. Take a look at our top ten attention-getting impacts in 2017.

Message from the Chancellor

Happy 2018! We're off to a good start in what promises to be an exciting year. Our UTIA strategic plan is almost complete, and we will start implementing the plan as soon as it is finalized and approved. It's fitting to implement this plan, A Decade of Excellence, in conjunction with the fiftieth anniversary of the Institute. As we work to advance our programs, we will also accelerate our funding-raising and development efforts in 2018—watch for an announcement later this year. I hope to see you around campus or across the state as we pursue our vision to be a national model for the creation of holistic, unbiased solutions that build a better future for those we serve.


P.S. Be sure to follow me and the latest Institute developments on Twitter at @UTIAChancellor.

A Slate of Field Days Ahead

A Beef Heifer Development School and Horse Management Field Days are among AgResearch's new offerings to the public this year. In all, thirteen field days and four special events will occur by 2018's end. While details of each will be available closer to their dates, you can click here to view the entire lineup now.

Improving Lives in Africa,
100 Chicks At a Time

As he sizes up UTIA outreach to citizens of Rwanda, Mike Smith, professor of Animal Science, says, "I think this is one project that will truly make a difference in people's lives." As a contributor to the project, Smith sees the impacts upon eighty-one Rwandan families as they raise one hundred broiler chicks each.

Conducted through our Donnie and Terry Smith International Center (no relation to Mike), the initiative is teaching rural citizens how to raise and maintain poultry because of the prospect they have of increasing rural incomes while also improving family members' nutrition. Click here to read more.

How to Make
Real. Life. Solutions. Happen

"I give to UTIA because I want to walk the talk," says Sue Hamilton, director of the UT Gardens and associate professor of Plant Sciences. "I really believe in what we are doing and it's my passion, and I think by actually giving and financially giving I feel a lot more invested in what we do here at UTIA."

Click here to learn more about the goals that motivate employee contributions to our mission and how they might match your own.

A Program to Help Veterans Become Farmers

Veterans might serve their country in a new capacity, as providers of the nation's food and fiber—and help themselves in the process. The USDA and its partners in Tennessee, including UT Extension, Tennessee State University Extension, and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, are launching a new program that offers to make the dreams of some veterans a reality. It may also benefit other citizens who would like to enter farming but don't know how to start. Click here to read more.


Common Ground is published monthly by the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. Send comments and suggestions to commonground@tennessee.edu. The University of Tennessee is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section 504/ADA/ADEA institution in the provision of its education and employment programs and services. All qualified applicants will receive equal consideration for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, or covered veteran status.

Real. Life. Solutions.